Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome: It’s something we’ve all heard about, but do you know what it really is and what to do about it?

The carpal tunnel connects the underside of the wrist to the palm. It consists of several tendons and muscles, the median nerve, and a thick ligament which covers the entire area. When any of these tendons get irritated and swell, they place pressure on the median nerve, causing the pain known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can present in a variety of ways, says Susan Cupples, an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist, who is the owner of El Cerrito and Oakland Hand Therapy and Acupuncture, a Physiquality network member in Northern California. According to Susan, any of the following symptoms could be signs of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Anatomy of the carpal tunnel
  • Nerve irritation
  • Tingling and/or numbness on the palm
  • Tingling and/or numbness in the following finger pads/areas: the thumb, the index or middle fingers, or the inner/medial side of the ring finger

Symptoms may start at night, at first, and then be felt during the day. If the carpal tunnel syndrome has been present for a while, adds Susan, “pain and nerve sensations can radiate up through the forearm and upper arm, and into the neck as well.”

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, says Susan. In addition to our anatomy and underlying health problems, our posture and the ways in which we use our hands and arms while we work, play sports or do other activities can all lead to carpal tunnel syndrome if excessive repetition and force places too much pressure on or irritates the carpal tunnel region. Read More


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Are you texting your way to injury?

When texting started becoming commonplace, it was slow and awkward. (How many times do I have to click on “7″ to get an “S”? Where’s my punctuation?) But with the advent of PDAs and smartphones, and the ability to not only text but post on social media and craft entire emails on a mobile device, people are communicating more than ever — non-verbally — with their phones. Unfortunately, with that advanced technology can come some digital pain, literally.

Constant typing and texting on your phone can cause pain and injury, says Matt Caster, a physical therapist at Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy (a Physiquality member in Pennsylvania). “Texting thumb is an overuse injury, where the tendons that control the thumb become inflamed due to the repetitive use of the thumb when typing text on your phone,” he explains. You may feel pain simply in your thumb or fingers, or it could manifest throughout the palm of your hand or even up the length of your arm.  Read More